What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

Walking on a country road

Walking on a country road

“You’re so lucky to live in Italy!”

“You’re so lucky to be living your dream!”

These and similar statements land in my inbox a few times a month. I know what the writer means, but I also hope they understand that luck is a small portion of what got me here — and that if they’re sitting around waiting for the Magic Unicorn of Luck to pick them up and ride off into the Sunset of Dreams, well, I hope they packed a lunch.

Luck — good and bad — plays a role in all of our lives.

I know I am lucky — ridiculously, amazingly, fantastically lucky. And I’m ever so grateful. I’m lucky to be alive. I’m lucky to be healthy. I’m lucky to have been born into a family that loved and cared for me, and in a place where I didn’t have to fight the odds just to survive infancy. I’m also lucky that I was born with a decent amount of intelligence and natural tenacity.

All of those things, I would say, make me one of the luckiest people on the planet. I had nothing to do with any of those circumstances, and I’m lucky they all went in my favor.

Has everything gone perfectly in my life? Please. We all have bad luck too, but more than that, we all have challenges and struggles and disappointments and just shitty times. But none of those things are what defines us.

How we handle good as well as bad luck is who we are.

If we’re willing to learn, how we deal with both booming and tough times can teach us a lot of what we need to know about ourselves. This knowledge comes in handy in many situations, but especially when we’re faced with hard decisions and potentially life-changing opportunities. Because even if you have the best opportunities always falling into your lap, luck is never going to be what pushes you forward.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~ Seneca

To make the most of an opportunity, indeed even to see an opportunity for what it is, you have to be prepared. You must do the work to put yourself in the mindset that makes you ready to jump when you “luck” shines upon you, when you see that sliver of light, that tiny bit of hope, that opportunity you’ve been waiting for, which, incidentally, sometimes comes cleverly disguised as the exact opposite of what you had been waiting for. Luck has a strange sense of humor.

What happens at that point is called choice.

No matter our relative luck levels, no matter how dire our emotional, financial, work, or other situations, that choice, that free will — that’s what makes us human. The ability to step back, look at our lives, and decide what to do next is so very precious, but sometimes we don’t notice an opportunity for what it is because it’s up to us to really, truly make it one. And that can’t happen if we’re not ready or prepared to do that. Circumstances sometimes limit our choices, but even not choosing — being a chronic non-decider who just lets things happen around them — is a choice.

Chestnuts on the tree

Chestnuts on the tree

Tough decisions, the ones that tend to yield the most rewards, are called “tough” for a reason.

So how do we get prepared? Well-informed decisions and smart choices are built on a lifetime of getting to know who you are, what you want, what makes you happy, what makes you anxious — and you don’t learn that kind of stuff in Unicorn Valley.

In Hamlet, Polonius told his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true.” Timeless advice, and the only way to know thine own self is to put yourself out there, try new experiences, and make a lot of mistakes. Through trial and error, you learn what works for you and what doesn’t, where you want to be (not only physically), and an amazing amount of other knowledge about yourself that you never even knew you didn’t know.

And as a reward for all that hard work:

Your journey to self-awareness is not only enlightening along the way, it can make tough choices down the line easier.

Easier to make, that is. Not necessarily easier to carry through. After that initial choice, you see, comes the all-important follow-through, and that consists of tiny choices every single day to continue on the path you’ve chosen. And now we’re getting to the nitty gritty, Thoreau’s “suck[ing] the marrow out of life.”


Eight years ago, I decided to create my own opportunity by moving to Italy. No one popped up with a job offer here that would have made that decision a tiny bit easier. Knowing myself and what I wanted to accomplish over the next few years, I decided to ditch the chance to make big bucks in Big Law and follow my passion for writing while fully immersing myself in a foreign language and culture without knowing more than a few words of Italian. I wanted a deeper connection with a place I was being so strongly pulled toward, the land of my ancestors. And I knew I’d only be in my mid-twenties with no major attachments once, so I went for it.

Badolato from a new angle

Badolato from a new angle

Boom! Choice made.

And believe me when I tell you that was the easiest part of this whole thing.

So what actually keeps me here, keeps me motivated and pushing forward every single day to live deliberately, to live the life I want to live, on my own terms? That’s not luck, and it’s not even the original choice to move here. Heck, I could always move back.

I’m still here because of a series of small choices made each and every day.

Some days the choices are easier than others — like times when P and I are enjoying our campagna we’ve worked hard to build together. I might even call that a no-brainer. Or when I see my writing career making great strides with each passing year. Definitely motivating.

But then come Facebook messages about my nephew’s football games and my niece’s basketball games back in the States. Doubts creep in, and the reality of missing out on their everyday lives weighs heavily on my heart. Is this *really* where I’m supposed to be right now?

Hey, no one ever promised living life on my own terms would be easy, and sadly, no magic unicorns have shown up to guide me. But getting to know yourself and making conscious, informed choices on how to live your life, your one and only life, each step at a time, based on what you know to be true? I don’t know of any better way to move toward that Sunset of Dreams, which, by the way, is a moving target if you’re doing things right.

Indeed, the learning process, realizing things about yourself, looking at situations from different angles, dreaming up of new ideas, goals, and adventures — those never end if you don’t let them. How lucky are we?!

85 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Luck Got to Do With It?”
  1. 10.29.2011

    I get those emails as well.
    Sometimes explaining to people that they have choices isn’t easy. You’ve done a brilliant job of doing just that.
    I love what you’ve written here, Michelle!

    Valerie Hamer Reply:

    I totally agree. A great article that has been shared.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Valerie!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Loulou!

  2. saretta

    Great post! I agree with you wholeheartedly about the nature of luck and making choices. We all make our own lives each day.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Saretta; always nice to “see” you 🙂

  3. Gil

    Another great post! With beautiful pictures to boot. I agree with what you have written about being lucky, but I do think you should get some credit as you were able to overcome the many obstacles of giving up everything in your home country and move to the country of your ancestors and make a go of it. Then again if you stayed in big city US practicing law you would probably be suffering from high blood pressure and all of the other great stress(es) of living life in the fast lane.

    michelle Reply:

    Living in the fast lane is honestly such an alien concept to me at this point, Gil, it’s hard to imagine it was ever even a consideration. Thanks, as always, for your continued support xx

  4. Oh, these comments drive me crazy! We’re so lucky to have a villa in Italy… We’re so lucky to have such a successful business… We’re so lucky to be ‘living the dream’. Yet, it always comes from those without. The people that play the lottery every week and spend the millions they will win in their heads every day. I don’t play the lottery. I work my rear off and make my ‘luck’.

    michelle Reply:

    I’d be curious to know how many of us “lucky” folks play the lottery. I don’t either. Could be fascinating correlation methinks….

  5. 10.29.2011

    Eleven years ago, my first husband developed terminal brain cancer. He was a fit, healthy, active, young-ish man. The doctors told us there was no reason “apart from bad luck”. He could have wallowed in that “bad luck” – no-one would have blamed him. Instead, what he said to me immediately after the diagnosis changed our lives in the twelve months he had left – and my life, forever. What he said was “Life isn’t always fair, but we have a choice. We need to deal with what we have. I choose to manage the next twelve months positively – to make the most of each day”. And he did. Those twelve months were among the best of my life. Lesson learned. ‘Luck’ is what you make of life.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors Reply:

    wow, what a beautiful story. My husband has been diagnosed with Cancer too, and has a similar attitude to your husband’s. All I can do is go along for the ride.

    Cath Andrews Reply:

    Absolutely, Mimi. I often felt like I was on a rollercoaster from which I couldn’t get off. It was a hard ride and often a scary one, but it taught me a lot. My thoughts are with you and your husband. I know how tough it can be. x

    michelle Reply:

    Amazing of you to share this, Cath. Thank you so much xx

    Cath Andrews Reply:

    My pleasure, Michelle. Your post rang so many bells with me that I couldn’t not post! 🙂

  6. 10.29.2011

    What a wonderful well written & well thought-out article!

    michelle Reply:

    Un bacione Sue xx

  7. 10.29.2011

    Thank you for writing this. I get these comments all the time as well but I don’t think those that are making them really understand what they are saying. I have tried to explain this many times and you have explained it so incredibly well. Living here is not always easy, in fact sometimes its downright hard! I wish I was sitting in a piazza somewhere sipping cappuccinos all day long, unfortunately that’s not my reality. Great post, as always!

    michelle Reply:

    Oooh do I wish that too…maybe we can imagine it together and if we wish really hard, it’ll come true?! Hmm…… 😉

  8. 10.29.2011

    I liked this post. Luck does come into the equation sometimes, but most of it is our choosing. My husband and I chose to move overseas for a job. Maybe it was “just bad luck” that his supervisor ended up being a psychotic, abusive person. Maybe it was bad luck that he was out of a job 6 months after we arrived! But we were the ones who chose to keep going, to believe there were good things out there for us. And I don’t think it was luck that found him another job– a better job– in England just a few months later. Do we feel “lucky” to be enjoying our new life? Yes! But was it luck that got us here? No! I do like the saying “Fortune rewards the brave.” I took this to heart many times as the road ahead was dark and looked so unsure. We must risks for great rewards.

    michelle Reply:

    Good on you and your husband for getting through that…I can’t imagine what a scary time it must have been. I love “Fortune rewards the brave.” Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. So well put Michelle, we don’t get the “you’re so lucky” comments….we get “you’re so brave” closely followed by “we could never do that”

    As you say luck and courage have very little to do with it, we knew this is what we want and we work toward this every moment. A shift in our mindset didn’t hurt either, no unicorns in sight! It takes something to pick up your family, take them across the world away from loved ones and plonk down in the unknown. It is so worth it, there is no other way of life for us than living a deliberate life and following our dreams with an unstoppable outlook.

    ciao lisa

    michelle Reply:

    You’ll get the “lucky” comments soon, Lisa, I promise…once people start seeing that you’re thriving and enjoying your life, as I know you will because you have already decided that you will. Enjoy 🙂

    lisa chiodo | renovating italy Reply:

    Yes making a decision and and taking action….looking for a quick renovation while we are held up here. No stopping, ciao lisa

    michelle Reply:

    Onward and upward, Lisa!

  10. 10.29.2011

    What an inspiring post! The way you describe the concept of the everyday choices being more important that the first big “life-changing” choice really hit home. I agree with everything you say, and am glad you added the part at the beginning describing the things you actually did acquire through luck, because I think a lot of successful people forget about those things. Despite an incredible about of work, I have led what could be called a “charmed life” and I try hard not to forget to be thankful for all I was given. Perhaps the thing I am most lucky to have had: a mom who said, “you want to do WHAT? Go for it, honey!” Not everyone has that and I think it makes a huge difference.

    michelle Reply:

    Family support, or at least having one person in your life who encourages your crazy schemes *does* make a huge difference, I agree. It may not be necessary, but it certainly helps.

  11. 10.29.2011

    I like your thinking. My circumstances are entirely different than yours, but I’ve come to the same conclusion… life is what we make it. Know yourself, have some gumption and then do your best to make things happen. That’s luck, imho.

    michelle Reply:

    Gumption is such an awesome word — from the sound of it to the meaning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ally B 🙂

  12. Michele – as you often do, you have eloquently and effectively captured an element of decision-making and self-awareness many lack. Living in the opposite situation (ie European expat in the U.S. for over half my life at this point) I get a variety of such comments – ie you are so lucky to be able to live anywhere, anytime etc. Also, sometime in my late 20s I consciously started moving away from a lot of the expected things of my larger peer group, ie no house in the suburbs, no kids, etc etc – no, it is nowhere near as big a decision as yours, but you would be amazed how much it brings out comments in people about how lucky we are to have more flexibility in our lives etc. There was no luck involved – just decisions my husband and I independently made prior to meeting which aligned and we have continued to maintain.

    Thank again for a thought provoking Saturday morning 🙂

    michelle Reply:

    To be honest, Valerie, I think you have it much tougher than I do, constantly surrounded by that peer group; here I’ve found a little space where my way of life fits in fairly nicely with many around me. But anyhoo good on you for making those decisions that are right for you and sticking with them 🙂

  13. 10.29.2011

    Choice and acute awareness! Two huge words and concepts which often require courage. Your writing is bold and, at the same time, poetic – always insightful and truthful. I continue to harbor the hope of meeting you sometime. If you are ever in Umbria, please do let me know! Thanks and all the best!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Mary; I have been meaning to get up to Umbria for far too long. MUST make it there next year.

  14. Paola Raggi

    Twelve years ago I made the same choice …..I followed my life long dream of coming to Italy. I took the “leap of faith” in my self and the Man above!
    After years of “bad luck” in Canada I had nothing to’ loose. Actually, those so called years of “bad luck” made me the strong person I am today !
    Life is full of ups and downs…it’s how we choose to deal with those moments that makes the difference.
    When someone says how “lucky” I am to live my dream …I reply “it’s not all gold what you see…there’s choices I had to make !”

    Paola Raggi Reply:

    Sorry my IPad has mine of it’s own….great post…I always enjoy your writing,!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks xx

    michelle Reply:

    Happy to connect with you, Paola — definitely not all gold. Magari!

  15. 10.29.2011

    my daughter is also married and living Italia……..some days are hard frustrating bureaucratic nightmares…….change that …make it some months which can find us all literally praying for a resolution……LUCK has so little to do with it!!!…..
    a DREAM and good old fashioned tenacity is what it takes!
    AUGURONE to you in your life!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks for the support, Charmain, and best of “luck” to your daughter 🙂 The bureaucracy here, I’m convinced, is placed as a test for all of us….

  16. 10.29.2011

    Truer words could not have been written. Can you believe certain people in my life even stopped communicating with me because I was so “lucky” and why me and not them? All they saw was a magic carpet ride into this heavenly Italian decade long adventure. Meanwhile, they are still sitting at the dead end job/lives without having changed a thing in their life. All I can do is shake my head and thank G-d that I had the hunger for something different, difficult and ultimately rewarding.
    Thank you for writing this post!

    michelle Reply:

    Sadly, I can totally believe that, Alex, although that doesn’t make it any less sad. Glad you enjoyed your magic carpet ride while it lasted 😉

  17. 10.29.2011

    Well said! Daily life is also what you make of it. I know quite a number of people who got to Italy and HATED it everyday. Some people’s “good luck” are other people’s “tragedy”.

    michelle Reply:

    Definitely lots of people who hated/hate their time in Italy, Barbara — and they also often hate that other people can enjoy life here. Go figure 😉

  18. 10.29.2011


    You have once again accomplished what I view as a delicate balance in writing where one can speak of a “higher purpose in life” while remaining safely on the ground.

    This is a magnificent piece of your thought process that you have shared with us. Sharing ones inner thoughts, views, and feelings at a public level, much less internatinal level is just not for the feint at heart. Thank you for being fearless in this posting.

    For me you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. “Luck”? nahhhhh for me there is no such thing. How could I think that there is an “IT” somewhere, somehow, somewhy that is ordering the Universe and still hold out for “luck”. Nope. All things happen for a reason whether I understand or perceive that reason, it does not matter. In the “Present Moment” which I call “Reality” only those things occur which should. Period.
    The trick in life is for me to adjust my perceptions of life to deal in Reality. Your piece here supports that theory entirely. At least for me it does.

    Informed decisions, planning, action, courage and desire are the watchwords I find in every successful, not “lucky” persons lives. You and your following of friends and bloggers have most of these personal traits in abundance and many may want to hang around and emulate some of those traits.

    So, in closing I would love to say; Buono Fortunata and have all realize that the B and F in those two words are capitalized by me as recognition of the Force that some call “luck” and I call IT the “Divine”. Thank you so very much for this grand posting.

    Love and Light,
    Richard aka ezduzit777 on twitter

    PS: Might I ask your readers to follow your article up with a stop at my blog on the latest item listed below.

    michelle Reply:

    You may indeed ask for visits, and I encourage visits to your place as well — always so much to think about. I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason (one of the first bits of wisdom I remember my late grandmother giving me), but at the same time, I think there is a degree of randomness as well…complicated issue for sure 😉

  19. Yes you are so right. The luck is perhaps your genes, your health. The rest was your hard work. People have said the same thing to me “you’re so lucky that you get to go to Italy” and all i can do is blink..

    michelle Reply:

    Hope you can come to my area of Calabria one of these times, Mimi 🙂

  20. 10.30.2011

    Ohhhhhh. I am living in the States but have lived elsewhere. It’s too long to go into & it’s your blog after all:) But if I hear one more flipping time that something I’ve been able to do, see, etc. has been due to luck I will shriek. Many things actually are, I believe, up to luck, fate, whatever you’d like to call it. This isn’t one of them & neither were the things I did (& may yet do again).

    michelle Reply:

    I love the “may yet do again” especially…woohoo! Good…wait for it…luck 😉

  21. 10.30.2011

    luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~ Seneca

    How true – loved the article

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Jo; that’s one of my favorite all-time quotes 🙂

  22. Amen!!

    Yes, I am lucky to have a French passport that enables me to live in Italy legally. But the rest? Come on.

    I had a choice. I could remain in L.A. for another 10 years and be miserable or move to Italy. Best decision I’ve ever made.

    michelle Reply:

    And I love following your journey carissima xx

  23. It seems to me, Michelle, that “luck” is a four letter word which sometimes has a “y” added on to it. As you undoubtedly know, one of literal meaning (dictionary definition) of the “l” word is, “success or failure brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”; but, since, many people have become careless about the way they use language, it is not surprising to hear that you (and apparently many of your followers judging from their comments on this entry) receive e-mails telling you how lucky you are, and that this prompts — and understandably so — you and your followers to feel slighted. I have never received any e-mails telling me how lucky I am so perhaps I have a different perspective! I don’t want to sound insensitive to how it apparently feels when hard work and tough decisions have seemingly been negated when the words “luck” or “lucky” are used to describe someone’s circumstances. What I do think, is that perhaps you are giving folks credit for being brighter than they are, because hopefully, if they really knew the implications of the words they were using, they would choose other words. I believe that many people say things without thinking and I also believe that writers hear words in a different way whereas “non-writers” may take words for granted.

    Sorry if I seem philosophical about this, but as it happens, the way people use and interpret words is often on my mind, and, in fact, this past week (on October 27th), I posted something about the lack of knowledge re the term, “eye-candy” in a post called, “On Not Being Eye-Candy for Halloween” which you may refer to — if you have time — by going to the following link:


    Another “l” word which is really misused is the word “love,” but, that as they say is another story. For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of funny quotes I came across regarding luck:

    “I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike?”
    Jean Cocteau

    “Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck.”
    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    All the best! (-;, and (if you celebrate today) Buon Halloween!

    michelle Reply:

    Hi Patricia, no need to apologize for being philosophical — this entire discussion is unavoidably so. The beginning of this post, indeed, states that I *hope* the “you’re so lucky!” people understand what they’re really saying…because if someone says I’m lucky (with regards to living my life the way I do), that kind of implies that they’re not — and I don’t believe that’s necessarily true. I don’t feel slighted or that my decisions/hard work have been negated by anyone — they can’t be as I know what I’ve been through and continue to go through. My true concern is that the people who say I’m lucky, who may actually think I got here through luck, will never push forward in their own lives, with their own plans and ideas, because they’re waiting for luck to throw an opportunity in their lap. In other words, my “issue” (for lack of a better word) with the “luck” comment isn’t so much on how it reflects on me — I know who I am and what got me to where I am — but how it may affect *their* lives. Thus the post 😉 Thanks for commenting and for sharing your link 🙂

  24. 10.31.2011

    {{ why would anyone
    even WANT a
    ~~Magic Unicorn of Luck~~
    when one
    could have a GOAT?

    i have no idea! }}

    i think we are known by the choices we make.

    what i decided to do each day defines me.
    today i worked out at the gym,
    visited with my mom and cleaned my studio.

    i chose not to stay on the couch & watch old movies
    all the day long…
    {{ although i might choice THAT later tonight }}

    tomorrow i will decide to do a different thing.

    even deciding to go to work is a choice.

    if you decide to live your authentic life
    what does luck have to do with it?

    oh wait
    YOU said that…

    michelle Reply:

    Mwaaaaaaaaah xx

  25. Hey Michelle—
    Yes, you have good fortune to be able to live where you do. And it’s because of action and effort that you expended to get there. You’ve probably done more of that that most average individuals.

    Congrats to you on “living the dream”….

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks Joe; hope all is well with you 🙂

  26. 11.01.2011

    What a great role model! I wish I had an Aunt like you! You may not be sitting in the stands, but with today’s communication tools, you are very much present in the lives of your niece and nephew. And you have given them all the permission they need to pursue their dreams.

    michelle Reply:

    This means so much, Anne; thank you.

  27. JJ

    I believe that there is more than luck involved with your life. I believe that you are not fulfilled until you realize that God has blessed you with the qualities and characteristics and circumstances that you have. Otherwise all of us will feel like we are lucky or we achieved what we have on our own, which will always feel hollow. Why? Because we know ourselves better than anyone and we always remember what we didn’t say that time in that spot that nags at our conscience…that makes us always ask ourselves what if? But God says I gave you your abilities and I love you no matter what, even though you messed up that time with that girl/boy or had thoughts of hate wishing someone were dead or despising someone (coworker/boss/classmate/neighbor/family member). He knows you even better and yet still loves you…a place we are afraid to go even with our spouses or parents. And living with this guilt causes tremendous unfulfillment and loneliness, and when things go right we feel we are ‘lucky’ because good things just couldn’t happen to someone like me.

    As regards to circumstances….it is a tremendous blessing to be born in a developed country. You need to thank God for this each day and then take your placement in the world and make it a blessing to others rather than taking it for granted or sitting around asking why am I ‘rich’ when others are so poor? Jesus said there will always be poor among us due to sins of selfishness and greediness. Can God wipe all these sins away? Yes and he will but not yet. In the meantime he wants to use us with the abilities and placement He has given us for a purpose. God wants us to go and use the abilities he has blessed us with to be a blessing to others. No pity parties, no guilt trips, no unfulfillment, no laziness, no loneliness but, through an understanding that we are loved no matter what, that we have been made for a purpose and that we can no the living God give us the power and strength to go out and make a difference for His glory, not our own selfishness. Every other ‘religion’ is about what can I do to please my god or work my way to heaven or try my best to feel good about myself…God says there is nothing you can do for me all your works are worthless on your own. I have already done everything you need, by sending my Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Simply believe this and you will have purpose and understanding as laid out in my Word. Well something to think about from a ‘I’m not alone here trying to get by on my own power’ perspective. Thanks -JJ These truths can be backed up by Scripture if you are seeking truth. God bless

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks for adding your thoughts, JJ.

  28. Scott Bergstein

    How “lucky” that I came across your beautifully written and insightful piece, Michelle. As my wife and I prepare to leave family, friends and much clutter of our lives in the States and move to southern Italy, we hear some of the same references to “how lucky we are.” While we do not doubt that for a second, we also know that what separates us from those who consider us fortunate is not so much luck as it is the courage to see the potential of an adventure and act on it. That is what we’re about to do in Puglia and we do it, convinced that we will be relying much more on the love and support of each other than on luck. Thanks for your article. It helps to put things in perspective.

  29. 11.02.2011

    Another great post from you Michelle waiting in my inbox when we got home from our travels. Life is certainly what you choose to make of it, luck does not just happen. It takes courage and love to live life’s great adventure. Life is an adventure!

  30. 11.02.2011

    Excellent post. It does sum up that whole lucky thing. I’m lucky to have a job in these times. I’m lucky to have the family and friends that I do have. I want to move out of Texas to get a change of scenery and really looking to move out of the country (England is my goal). But I can’t get a job there (no work visas) and I’m actually right now in my head wondering if I could just pick up and move, make my blog my living (since I love it), and start writing my book(s). So, this post was perfect to read. Thanks!

    michelle Reply:

    Forza going forward, Kristi! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  31. 11.03.2011

    excellent post here…yep, its hard to explain sometimes life and what happens when one moves out/changes place/country,etc, but its a lot about how places/people/small things do make u fell (happy or unhappy)+ last but not least how everyone of us deals with it!!!
    enjoy your paradise, so you have enough energy to go over the bad moments! warm hug from tulipland!

    michelle Reply:

    Hugs to you as well, Jana; thanks for stopping in 🙂

  32. Kristi

    Amazing post and SO true! THANK YOU! 🙂 Came at the perfect time for me.

    michelle Reply:

    Happy to hear it, Kristi 🙂

  33. 11.08.2011

    Very well said, Michelle. We make our own luck!

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks for coming by! Love your blog title 🙂

  34. 11.10.2011

    Love, love, love this! After four cancer scares in two years, I left my”high-powered” career to find the Me who had gotten so lost in the hustle for “success.” Travel, cultural immersion, writing and photography are my passions and I have re-joined the human race by seeking to appreciate our differences and honor our similarities. That said, through my circuitous route around the globe, I have come to the conclusion that “wherever you go, there you are.” I take my Human Condition with me–including my moments of self-pity–which happen to even the best of us. I have been “Living the Dream” for 3.5 years and seeking to pass on the Life Lessons that present themselves in my travels. I now have to return to some semblence of a more conventional job to feed my passions…but I do so with the self-knowledge that I have choices as to how I approach that, and come-what-may, I have found an outlet for my curiousity and creativity that will continue and…for me, this fork in the road may offer new opportunities to keep growing. In any event, Michelle, thank you for the lovely reminder of things I know…but can sometimes forget! : )

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Meg — inspiring! Best of “luck” as you continue on your journey 🙂

  35. 11.12.2011

    Beautiful post. I too struggle with the feelings of losing out on the lives of those I love back in my home country. But I need to live life on my terms, it’s my choice and my choice only. Skype sure helps, but it’s not the same. Imagine eons ago when there was just the hand written postcard or letter?

    michelle Reply:

    So true, Jennifer — we’re very lucky to be able to have instant access.

  36. Nell

    loved your article it was so beauitfuly written.
    Reminded me of the is quotation
    “if you find oppertunties -take them, if you find none-
    make them!”
    floyd flake

    michelle Reply:

    Yes! Thanks for sharing, Nell!

  37. 11.16.2011

    Very well said. You make your own luck, as the saying goes, and it takes foresight, vision and determination. You may have doubts along the way, but nobody said it would be easy to live your dream. Your post is an inspiration.

    michelle Reply:

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing, CCL 🙂

  38. 11.17.2011

    Hi Michelle, I haven’t swung past for a while and as usual it is lovely to find an insightful, thought-provoking post. I particularly believe in preparation in order to be able to seize an opportunity and my motto over the past tough eight years here in Italy has always been Prepare The Terrain. It gives me a lot of peace and space to hope.
    I think that luck is what is looks like from the outside perhaps, and I wouldn’t know how to fill out a lottery ticket! Ciao ciao cat

    michelle Reply:

    I love that, Catherine — prepare the terrain. Thanks for sharing!

  39. 11.22.2011


    Luck . . .(or it’s many various forms) is a funny thing. I still write but have been away from the social arenas of blogdom for a few years. Every once in a while I still stop by my old favorites (including yours) and read a post or two.

    And then today, your name pops up on my Linkedin account as “someone you may know.” Creepy, for sure, but I refuse to look at the unsettling internet “big brother” aspect and am instead just amused and thankful at the luck of our loose connection.

    I hope you are well, that life in Italia is treating you well and that husband, dogs and pen and camera remain merrily close to your side.


  40. 12.01.2011

    Really well expressed Michelle!
    I had a little aha moment while reading — people tell me I’m lucky all the time, too, and I’ve always interpreted it as, yes, I’m lucky to be healthy, to have been born into a caring family, in a place where women have rights, etc. But it’s only now occurred to me that maybe the people who say that think the fabulous opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of have more to do with luck than choice, hard work, being prepared, being available and open and ready. Hm.

    As another wise woman – my mom – says: the harder you work, the luckier you get.




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